Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas is coming, people are rushing around buying presents and everybody stresses out about making the big day itself as relaxing as possible. Fortunately, away from all the hubbub at home, there’s lots of hubbub elsewhere to keep you occupied. This means Christmas parties, getting stuffed full of food at friend-and-family gatherings and trips out and about town. For many, hitting the town at Christmas means trips to the theatre; and trips to the theatre at Xmas means one thing: pantomime. Here’s 6 of the best in London during 2016 …
Cinderella – The London Palladium
Saturday 10th December 2016 – Sunday 15th January 2017
A star-studded cast full of the creme-de-la-creme of pantomime, like Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary, Amanda Holden, Lee Mead and lots more besides. This version of Cinderella is bound to have lots of great production values, so there is no doubt that the set will be visually stunning. The cast is also hugely experienced, so will most certainly handle the stage with both gutsiness and grace.
What makes this showing of Cinderella extra special? Well, it’s the first pantomime at the London Palladium in 29 years. And, as anyone who’s been to the London Palladium to see a show knows, they like to go the whole hog and pull off an extravaganza.
Sleeping Beauty – Hackney Empire
Saturday 26th November 2016 – Sunday 8th January 2017
This version of Sleeping Beauty is written by two of panto’s biggest writing superstars, Susie McKenna and Steve Edis. Expect some quite brilliant, lurid costumes and lots of zaniness. Moreover, the prices for Sleeping Beauty at Hackney Empire aren’t too steep, so not only will this panto be rip-roaring, knee-slapping fun, it’s be affordable too!
Aladdin – Lyric Hammersmith
Saturday 19th November 2016 – Saturday 7th January 2017
The Lyric Hammersmith tends to produce a slightly more subdued panto, but this doesn’t make shows at this venue any less fun. Joel Horwood handles the script this year, so be assured that the jokes will roll thick and fast and be very kid-friendly. Oh, and lots of great live music, too.
Dick Whittington – New Wimbledon Theatre
Friday 9th December 2016 – Sunday 15th January 2017
Pantomimes at the New Wimbledon Theatre are famed for their raucousness. The New Wimbledon Theatre has stepped away from putting on shows filled with superstars in recent times, but makes up for this with lots of high-budget spectacle and gloriously loud pop song routines. Big, brash, bold … All the things you’d expect from a pantomime. Matthew Kelly, Arlene Phillips and Tim Vine are the big names on this one.
Peter Pan – Churchill Theatre
Friday 9th December 2016 – Saturday 7th January 2017
A classic tale and just as classic pantomime, this old-school-style panto involving swashbuckling pirates and lost boys (and girls, of course) stars Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood as Captain Hook, and will surely put you in a jolly mood.
Pinocchio – King’s Head Theatre
Thursday 1st December 2016 – Saturday 7th January 2017
This is the 10th anniversary of pantomimes at the King’s Head Theatre in Barnsbury, an intimate pub with coal fires, a pre-decimal till and an upstairs theatre. This version of Pinocchio proves that small can indeed be beautiful. Plus, there aren’t many pleasures greater than a panto and a pint.
So, if you’re down for a right old knees-up in London town this Xmas, get on down to the theatre and watch a good old pantomime.